The top 25 most attractive global cities, London and New York lead

20 June 2016

London has been named the top global city by this year’s edition of A.T. Kearney's Global Cities Index, on merits of offering a strong business environment, access to top talent and the world’s best cultural experience. New York comes in second, followed by Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The global cities index has been run by consultancy firm A.T. Kearney since 2008. This year’s edition continues the trend of identifying the world’s top 125 ‘global’ cities on the basis of their ability to attract and retain global capital, people, and ideas, as well as sustain that performance in the long term. The indexes rank cities in two categories: the Global Cities Index, which examines the city’s current performance, and the Global Cities Outlook, which is a projection of a city’s potential.

The indexes are based on a range of metrics, each with different weighting. For the Global Cities Index, 27 metrics across five dimensions are considered: Business activity (30%); Human capital (30%); Information exchange ­(15%); Cultural experience (15%); and Political engagement (10%). For the Global Cities Outlook index, 13 indicators across four dimensions were taken into consideration: Personal well-being ­(25%); Economics ­(25%); Innovation (25%); and Governance ­(25%).

Global Cities Index 2016

Top 25 global cities
The top ranked city in the Global Cities Index is London, moving up a spot from last year. The UK’s capital city offers a high level of business related activity, access to some of the world’s best educated people, adequate information exchange, and a strong cultural heritage. New York comes in second, offering a slightly stronger business environment, a comparable human capital environment, although a somewhat lower cultural experience. Paris takes the number three spot, with a comparably lower access to top talent, Tokyo and Hong Kong close the top five.

The ranking has seen little movement in city positions since the previous year, with most of the top ten global cities holding on to their spots, city state Singapore comes in at number 8, while Beijing, even with its chronic air pollution, manages to take the number 9 spot. The top 25 sees a few cities move up in their ranked position. Madrid move from 16th spot to 13th spot, while Sydney and Melbourne increase their position by 1 and 4 respectively, to 14th and 15th place respectively. Berlin moves up one spot to 16, while Amsterdam jumps three to 22nd. Toronto, however, falls four places to 17th, while Moscow too goes back four spots, to 18th.

Global Cities Outlook 2016

Global outlook top 25 cities 
The research also looked at the cities with the most forward looking outlook in a range of long-term success associated characteristics, such as environmental performance, safety, and innovation capacity. San Francisco came in number one, offering unparalleled strength in innovation. The city’s private investments, a proxy for venture capital, is more than double that of the next highest grossing city, New York. In addition, the city offers a strong performance in wellbeing and governance. New York takes the second spot, offering a strong economic outlook as well as a strong governance framework, while Boston takes the number three spot with a relatively strong innovation score. London, while offering considerable economic potential, falls far behind when it comes to innovation. Houston rounds off the top five.

While US cities enjoy promising outlooks, with 5 entries in the top 10, Europe too boasts a strong performance. Stockholm takes the number 7 spot, followed by Amsterdam, Munich and Zurich. Both Sydney and Melbourne, again, make the top 20 – although both Australian cities lack cutting-edge innovation potential.

Top 15 cities of the globe

In terms of the ‘Global Elite’, 15 cities rank in the top 25 of both the indexes. In the Americas, New York is placed at the top of the list, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. The only non US city in the region on the list, Toronto, takes the number four spot. In the EMEA region, London takes the top spot, followed by Paris. Brussels comes in third, followed by Berlin, with Amsterdam closing the top five. In the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo is number one, followed by Singapore, with Sydney and Melbourne taking spots three and four.

London vs New York
The research found that London has managed to steadily climb the rankings since 2008 to become the most global of global cities. This year, London performed better in two of the five dimensions: cultural exchange and business activity. Even though New York maintained its top position in human capital, London closed the gap. London has also seen noticeable improvement in information exchange, while New York’s political engagement has dropped 10% as London’s has increased 33%.

London vs New York

Andres Mendoza Pena and Mike Hales, both Partners at A.T. Kearney in Chicago and co-authors of the study, state: “Together, the Index and the Outlook provide a unique look at 125 of the world’s largest and most influential cities today and those primed to make an impact in the future. Taken together, results from this year’s study can help businesses make key investment decisions such as where to place regional and global headquarters, as well as manufacturing and research hubs.”

The importance of cities is forecasted to rise in the coming decades. According to the United Nations, up to two thirds of the world’s population will be living in an urban environment by 2050.


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Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”